Mask by Kathleen Sherman

Costume Studio Demo Artist Kathleen Sherman

Kathleen Sherman will be in the Costume Studio demonstrating experimental mask construction February 18-19 and February 25-26, 2017.

Sherman worked for 30 years as a commercial artist and graduated from the Colorado Institute of Art. Her work has been shown and sold in galleries, museums, and sculpture shows. More recently she had a studio/gallery in the Santa Fe Arts District but now has a studio in her home, and is presently a member of the Art Gym in Denver.

Holly Nordeck: What will your demo at the DAM showcase?

Kathleen Sherman: My plan is to demonstrate elements of the process of conceiving and making a mask. I will use a model to construct a mask form out of plaster casting material. I will then demonstrate the process of decorating, using a similar form that is dry. This will enable participants to see how materials such as found objects, feathers, shells, buttons etc. can be used with paint to develop the mask surface. There will be a variety of masks on display, some based on various cultures some pure whimsy. Some examples will be available for participants to try on and take selfies to Instagram using hashtag #DenverArtMuseum.

HN: Can you tell us a little bit about your process and concept?

KS: Processes change with the particular mask and the materials it is made from, as well as the intent. Materials often furnish my inspiration. The shape of a gourd, a fabric from India, a bit of old jewelry, or a dried branch have all inspired masks. Folktales and folk art often inspire me, as do pictures of animals or even dreams.

HN: As a mask maker, what purpose do you think masks serve? Specifically in terms of functional vs. non-functional?

KS: Masks allow the wearer to become someone or something other than themselves. They often help the wearer feel more powerful or change genders temporarily. It allows escape from their own personal masks—the ones we all wear in our everyday lives.

HN: Lastly, do you think owning a gallery has influenced the way in which you create?

KS: I think that owning a gallery helped me realize that making art that you feel might sell keeps you from making art that reflects who you are. Pleasing yourself makes a statement about you as an artist.

Photo courtesy of Kathleen Sherman.

Holly Nordeck is a program facilitator in the department of learning and engagement at the Denver Art Museum. She loves the museum’s modern and contemporary art collection.